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Facebook and Instagram STORIES are the Hidden Secret to Success: The Business Guide to Stories

We had the opportunity to connect directly with Facebook last week and talk about innovation, optimization and how to grow. Facebook shared some interesting info about a topic that many marketers aren’t yet thinking about – Stories.

Facebook and Instagram launched stories in 2017 and 2016 and they are now a core part of the Facebook user experience. While businesses can only participate in Instagram stories, they are worth paying attention to as Facebook sees this as the future of communications.

When Instagram launched stories the feature was mostly written off as a rip-off of Snapchat. Now we know that Stories are in-fact a powerful platform that Facebook is betting big on. PS – Check out our Instagram Marketing Training and Facebook Marketing Training to take your success to the next level.

What are Facebook and Instagram Stories?

Stories on Facebook and Instagram are similar to Snapchat – they are images or videos that are shown to your friends (or people who follow you) for a limited amount of time – after which they disappear. Stories are visible for 24 hours.

Stories allow users to share content without publishing something permanently to their timeline. From a user experience standpoint users can view stories which will automatically play one after the other.

Businesses can post stories on Instagram but not on Facebook. Watch the video below to see how they work:

 

How Big are Stories Growing on Facebook and Instagram?

Believe it or not, Stories are the fastest growing product EVER in Facebook history. Seriously – they are the fastest growing product Facebook has launched and Facebook believes that this will be the future.

As of 2017 Instagram Stories surpassed Snapchat in terms of the number of users. WOW! They have not released growth numbers since then, but apparently the trend continues. Instagram overall is currently the most popular marketing channel for businesses, and Stories are the fastest growing channel on Instagram, so they are worth your attention.

  • 1 of 3 Instagram stories are from businesses
  • Over 300 million people use them
  • Stories increased Instagram use by 28 minutes
  • 20% of Stories posted by businesses resulted in a direct message


 

What is the Advantage of Posting a Story vs. Just a Post or Update?

Stories are displayed at the top of your Instagram feed – giving more visibility to your account and your story vs. a post in the Feed that requires scrolling. As more and more people spend more and mote time in Stories they are a great way to break through the clutter and be seen.

There are a number of advantages that stories have over posts:

  • Stories are viewed full screen in order – people view Story content longer
  • Deeper engagement as it takes the full screen vs. scrolling in the feed
  • Add fun features to content – text, drawing, stickers and more to drive engagement

How can Businesses use Stories?

Currently businesses can only post Instagram Stories – Facebook Stories can only be used by people, not Pages.

Businesses can use Stories as an organic way to connect with their followers on Instagram, or they can be used as an ad. Stories can be used as a part of an Instagram strategy. Businesses using Stories post as little as once a week to as often as a few times a day. It depends on your content strategy, how often you have good content and how often your audience wants to hear from you. If you are new to stories a good starting point is to aim for 3 – 7 times a week.

Don’t just replicate your posts on Stories – try to create content for stories that is more likely to drive engagement.

When using Instagram Story ads you also have access to additional features aimed at driving business results.

Tips to Mazimize use Stories?

If you want to maximize your business success with Stories, consider these tips:

  • Post when your audience is online and engaged – timing MATTERS!
  • Use text, drawing and stickers to drive attention
  • Be FUN – stories is a light, fun platform
  • Create content for quick bursts – don’t expect long view times
  • Make the first 4 seconds count – people drop off after 4 seconds
  • Optimize for VERTICAL – even Instagram images are typically square, Stories take over the full screen so should use vertical orientation to maximize the impact
  • Include a LINK and a call to action at the bottom to drive people to see/learn more (15% – 20% of people will click on a link)
  • Include a call to action (over 1/3 of Instagrammers engage with a business after)
  • Include geotagging to maximize visibility
  • Incorporate time, day, temperature and other fun features
  • Try polls to drive engagement
  • Grab attention with GIFS
  • Ask questions to draw people in
  • Use story highlights on your profile to feature your best content
  • Use hashtags to grow visibility (12% more engagement with hashtags)

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